Microsoft + Yahoo!

Volume 11, Issue 18; 04 Feb 2008; last modified 08 Oct 2010

Like so many others, it doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling.

I've only given the weblog postings, analyst summaries, and random rantings that emerged following the announcement a cursory glance. I could be off the mark, but the sense I get of the predominant opinion is that (a) the deal will go through, (b) it will be good for Yahoo! stock holders and (c) it will be bad for Yahoo! customers. (In the interest of full disclosure, I'm a member of (c) but not (b). Well, I suppose some 401(k) mutual fund I'm in probably puts me in (b), at least statistically, but not such that I actually know it to be true.)

There's something wrong with a system where (a), (b), and (c) can be mutually true, isn't there? Not that I have any better ideas.

I was looking over the list of “web properties” that I actually use. Yahoo! owns half of them, roughly, including the only one to which I fork over actual cash on an annual basis.

(For the curious, I counted the following sites:, Dopplr, Flickr, Google Mail, SourceForge, and Upcoming. Until recently, I used Bloglines a lot. And, of course, I use lots of other sites, but those are the ones I was counting when I concluded the “half” statistic.)

Assuming the deal goes through (and even assuming it doesn't, because refusing the first offer is hardly grounds to imagine that future offers will be refused, see Oracle and BEA), the question is, what to do?

Cut and run right away, on principle, as it were? Or wait until Microsoft wrecks the (formerly) Yahoo! properties I care about, on the hope that perhaps it never will? As it were.

There's no good answer because I really like and Flickr and Upcoming. More, for the moment at least, than the closest competitors of which I'm aware.


What about search, though? That's a web property too, and the most important Hungadunga.

—Posted by John Cowan on 05 Feb 2008 @ 05:48 UTC #

Sure, web search is important, but it's not the same sort of thing. The cost of changing search engines is zero and the value of a search engine is purely the quality of the results (relevancy plus the aesthetics of the display).

Changing from to Ma.gnolia or from Flickr to SmugMug or from any "X" where I've invested effort creating my own personal content to some new "Y" has a real cost associated with it.

I think Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, etc. have tried to create some additional value with various sorts of personalization, but those efforts have failed on me. I never go to to search anyway, I type "g search terms" in the address bar of my browser. (And "y search terms" for a Yahoo! search, etc.)

—Posted by Norman Walsh on 05 Feb 2008 @ 03:14 UTC #

What replaced Bloglines?

—Posted by Keith Fahlgren on 05 Feb 2008 @ 03:28 UTC #

Keith, NetNewsWire.

—Posted by Norman Walsh on 05 Feb 2008 @ 04:02 UTC #

NetNewsWire. Fair enough. As a half-satisfied Bloglines user: Care to write a separate post on why you switched? Did you try the Bloglines beta?

—Posted by Keith Fahlgren on 05 Feb 2008 @ 04:57 UTC #

I'm also wondering about moving away from Flickr. The two alternatives are smugmug and host-it-myself.

In my thinking, having a nice system like you seem to have with lots of extracted metadata and assorted management stuff in RDF files should help here, right?

At least, that's been in the back of my head for a while. Make sure I've got all my own metadata in my own hands. Sync back geolocation and tags from flickr's photos, for example.

That ought to make it relatively easy to move wholescale to something else. But apparently it is definitively not that straightforward? (Of course it can mean lots of programming work to support something new like smugmug).


—Posted by Reinout van Rees on 06 Feb 2008 @ 02:56 UTC #

If all you want to do is publish your photos, it's probably not too hard to do it yourself. I did, in fact, for a long time.

What I like about Flickr are the social aspects, streams of photos from friends, comments from others, etc. That'd be real work to implement yourself, and wouldn't really pay off unless all your friends started using it too. So you have to compete with Flickr to replace it.

Looking at the SmugMug 1.2.1 API (or, rather, the skeletal outlines of it's beta documentation), it seems like they're planning to add more social stuff in the near future.

I think I'll probably give SmugMug at try. I was able to bang out an XSLT interface to their API in short order. Go REST! Go!

—Posted by Norman Walsh on 06 Feb 2008 @ 05:25 UTC #

Yes Norman, social aspect is a crucial aspect. Flickr is famous not for its technology ( even if it is the best photo sharing platform at the moment ), but for tha ability to become popular and widely used among thousands of people. I'm trying to develop something like that on my webcommunity but I'm encountering some difficulties related to geolocalization, API and watermarking.

—Posted by Robert on 16 Mar 2008 @ 12:42 UTC #